Upper Arlington News

City considering 'forgivable loan' to NCR

Deal would offset expansion costs and keep UA's largest employer in city for at least 10 years

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Upper Arlington City Council is expected to hear the first reading of legislation March 11 to provide a $650,000 "forgivable" loan to National Church Residences to help the nonprofit organization offset costs from the expansion of its corporate headquarters.

Under the proposed terms, the city would provide three installments of approximately $216,667 to NCR over a three-year period.

In return, NCR must keep its corporate headquarters in Upper Arlington for at least the next 10 years, and must generate at least $1.6 million in new payroll taxes to the city over that time.

NCR, which currently has more than 700 people on staff and has maintained operations in Upper Arlington since the 1960s, is the city's largest private employer.

"Upper Arlington has been home to National Church Residences for over 30 years and they are valued community partner," UA Community and Economic Development Manager Bob Lamb said.

"Maintaining their headquarters in the city helps to guarantee that the close-knit community bond they share with UA will remain strong and vibrant, which will lead to more opportunities to work together to provide new services and amenities to residents.

"Further, the city receives a portion of its funding through payroll tax and maintaining the jobs associated with the headquarters is financially beneficial for the city," Lamb said.

NCR's corporate headquarters are located at 2235 and 2233 North Bank Drive.

In January, the firm finalized an approximately $2-million purchase of the former Willis Insurance Building at 2245 North Bank Drive. NCR currently is relocating its office staff to the newly acquired 40,000-square-foot building to allow for adding 188 jobs over the next 10 years and establishing a senior services center its office headquarters.

According to the proposed agreement, which is supported by Lamb and the Upper Arlington City Manager's Office, the loan would help NCR offset costs for the building acquisition, the staff relocation and renovations at the new office space.

"If they adhere to the terms of the agreement, the loan will be forgiven after 10 years," Lamb said. "Under the proposed terms to council, National Church Residences would be required to pay back the difference between the collected amount in new payroll taxes and the $650,000 loan amount.

"There are several points during the 10-year period where the city may either withhold further payment or request to receive additional funds from National Church Residences to close any gap in the funds actually collected compared to the projected collection," he added.

NCR purports to be the nation's largest nonprofit developer and manager of affordable senior housing and services. It maintains more than 330 communities in 28 states and Puerto Rico.

NCR officials did not address the proposal during discussions at a council conference session Monday night.

Councilman Erik Yassenoff said the proposed loan is supported by the Upper Arlington Community Improvement Commission, and he lauded Lamb's efforts to retain a vital employer to the city.

"I think Bob Lamb has done another fantastic job," Yassenoff said. "NCR is the largest private business and employer in the city. It's great to see that happening."

In addition to NCR's recent expansion, the organization announced Feb. 21 it had sold $52.405 million in bonds and spent another $10 million of its own money to lift First Community Village, a continuing-care retirement community also in Upper Arlington, from bankruptcy.

In addition to providing financial stability for First Community Village, NCR officials said the move satisfied First Community Village's debts from the construction of luxury apartments, while also allowing First Community Village to renovate its skilled nursing center and build 12 manor homes.

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